Sunday, June 29, 2014

Remember that Blown Tire?

That tire that blew on US 23 back in January after that piece of metal went banging along the undercarriage of my car did more than just blow that tire. It wasn't till a couple months later that I really noticed. After the snow melted and while my car was parked outside I saw that the left rear tire was kicked out at the bottom a lot more than the one on the right. I finally got it into the dealer last week for an oil change and asked them to take a look.

Turns out a Y shaped bracket called the control arm was bent in the center a good 15 degrees or more. I'm sure I could have kept driving on it without any harm to the car itself but I'd be wearing out tires a lot faster and at $138 per tire I figured the $205 fix would be cheaper in the long run. So it's all done.

This and That

Title just means I don't have anything interesting to say. So why bother? Well, it's raining outside, with thunder and lightning, the interior of the house is over 80 degrees, the humidity is over 60%, it's just a miserable day to do much of anything. With it being so hot I certainly don't want to be crocheting a winter sweater.

I've been frustrated since my return from downstate. I ate too much and can't seem to summon the willpower to stop. I was doing well right before the unexpectedly open ended trip and now I can't get that motivation back. I'm starting over today having ridden my exercise bike before I even walked the dogs. I ate an apple for breakfast, but I have to admit the short glass of Kahlua I'm having right now doesn't help, though I mixed it with 1/2% milk rather than cream.

The rain is going to help with the last of my green beans that I planted a couple days ago. Haven't had rain in many days now, it's been very hot which isn't beneficial to veggie gardens. Yesterday I moved 3 plants as well, not a particularly good thing to do on an 85 degree day, but they were not doing well where they were, in fact until this spring I had thought my clematis was dead. I moved it next to the pole for the internet satellite dish next to the deck where it has a better chance of staying watered, its previous location was a hill by the old cedar stump and the water would just run off. Consequently I had to move the small Therese Bugnet rose to the old island bed and move a sedum from there to the lower level of the same bed. Watered everything twice but things were looking very wilted. A nice soaker should help tremendously.

The dogs have been driving me a little mad. They're digging a lot of holes on our walks and I have often had to drag them back onto the trail, if I can find them. Yesterday afternoon they were being particularly evasive and it did not help my stress levels. A couple days ago Ziggy high tailed it over to a neighbor's house and all my yelling did was get the attention of some woman standing on his back deck trying to sell a different internet satellite service to anyone in town. Took me 10 minutes to extricate myself from that and then Ziggy still decided he would run into the woods for a few extra minutes. I love my dogs, but sometimes I just want to bang my head against the wall. I blame the stubborn beagle in him.

Getting back to the garden discussion I have been picking snow peas this past week. First veggies from my garden this year. Hopefully this heat wave we've been having won't kill them before their time. It usually happens that way though. They are a cool weather crop and there just wasn't enough cool weather between the viciously cold winter and the suddenly hot summer to give them a long happy life. Many of the vines are turning yellow prematurely. Didn't help while I was gone that a deer decided to lop the tops off some of the taller ones. One of my hollyhocks took a beating, too.

Well, maybe I'll do a little more housework. Perhaps my sunglasses will turn up, they disappeared the last day of that trip.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On a Happier Note...

I did progress a little on the cardigan I am crocheting while I was downstate. Thank goodness I had my yarn with me though I only took it to the hospital once. Most other times I only had a romance novel with me as that was all my SIL had in her house that I could find. I finished the body and got the left sleeve almost half done.
I had a few minor problems understanding the sleeve directions, mainly in getting the decreases right. Many times I had increases instead. Probably ought to try it on again and see if I'd like to decrease a stitch or two at the elbow so it's not really wide at my wrist. I have very narrow wrists. All in all I am very pleased.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back Home and Feeling Better

My MIL was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon. Her daughter then took her on a fast trip to see her brother whose wife had just passed away the weekend before. I went back to the house because I hadn't felt that well all day, and using my SIL's automated blood pressure machine got readings of 156/100 or worse. Took some anxiety pills that didn't help much, tried to get a better night's sleep, sort of did but my BP only dropped to 138/99. Last time I got my BP checked at my clinic it was closer to the standard 120/80.

But we still managed to leave Sunday morning. Got back early yesterday afternoon. Took MIL straight to her home and Hal came there to pick my and my stuff up and took me home. I had a hard time relaxing at all last night and didn't sleep well though I was very tired. Plus I had that niggling blood pressure reading in the back of my head making me wonder if my health was starting to deteriorate. After all my mom had high BP as does my brother.

Today I called my local clinic and got a same day appointment with a physician's assistant, not my regular one, but a gal I had seen before for bursitis. Her nurse used the manual BP method, a hand pumped cuff and a stethoscope. She got 114/72. That was quite a relief. She also prescribed more anxiety pills, only a few till I see my regular PA, but we both figured my old pills being 4 years old had lost their efficacy.

I do feel better tonight, only took one pull this morning after my appointment. I think the PA was amazed how little I use them as my script was so old. Heck, I think I still have 2/3 of the pills from 4 years ago. Popping pills for the heck of it is not something I tend to do. (It's food that is my downfall!)

So things are getting better, I walked the dogs more today than yesterday, made hamburgers for dinner (catfish last night). And we had some wine. I love my wine. A nice Sugar Island from Thunder Bay Winery of Michigan.

Hope to feel much less stressed tomorrow. Think I'll turn in early again tonight.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Downstate with Complications

Last Friday, the 13th I drove my mother-in-law downstate to her daughter's house so she could go to one of her granddaughter's high school graduation party on Saturday. I noticed she was a little short of breath when we stopped at the rest area 2 hours into our 4.5 hour drive. I mentioned this to her daughter when we got there. MIL took me to dinner that night, (where she also experienced shortness of breath walking into the restuarant) then the next day she went to her youngest granddaughter's parade, her youngest nephew's ball game and then we all went to the party.

This was originally going to be a 3 day trip, down Friday, party Saturday, drive back Sunday, but a SIL of my MIL, in other words, an older aunt was in the hospital on her death bed so it was suggested I bring extra clothes in case we needed to stay. (she did indeed pass, poor thing)

Things were quiet Sunday so her daughter and I ran errands and we left MIL to watch the Tigers baseball game on TV. Next day we took MIL to see 2 different sisters-in-law in a 5 hour visit. MIL was looking pretty tired by the time we got back to her daughter's house and went to bed later that night not feeling too well.

Tuesday I was supposed to drive us back home but at 5:30 am I woke up a bit worried and looked in on her but she seemed to be sleeping just fine. Then at 7:30 she knocked on my bedroom door and said she was not feeling well at all, very short of breath so I woke her daughter who took her blood pressure which was very, very high so we took her to the emergency room.

Long story short, she was admitted with a preliminary diagnosis of congestive heart failure, (fluid around her heart). Turns out she didn't take her diuretic pills all weekend, though this was probably going to happen anyway, that just made everything worse. The medical staff gave her diuretics intravenously, as well as blood pressure lowering medication. By the time we left almost 12 hours later she was definitely looking and feeling better but will be in the hospital for a few days to make sure she is straightened out. So I will be here a little longer than planned, probably till the weekend at least.

Guess I'd better do some laundry.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Deck Goes On

Before I left for the weekend I snapped a photo of the deck after Hal removed and added new supports for the deck beside the sliding door. He has since finished all the joists as well as the laid the deck boards along the narrow portion farther back. When I get back home I will take photos.

Prior to this he had also put in the joists along the narrow portion and had picked up the metal roofing and installed it on the shed underneath.
cutting the metal roofing
The shed roof under the deck
inside the shed
It's an open ended shed mainly just to keep large items out of the weather and so they don't need to be kept inside the garage. Mainly the chick brooder and the riding mower. Probably also straw bales. It will be nice to have room to access our vehicles inside the garage. He's done a lot of good work. Nice to have a handy guy around the house.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Another Sweater

Started a new cardigan last week, a free Lion Brand pattern that called the Top Down Crochet Jacket. It is a raglan type design that is basically very easy but I modified the body just slightly and consequently I've had trouble with stitch counts. Last night I ripped out about 8 rows and with slightly fuzzy yarn it is slow and frustrating.

This morning I finally figured out the missing stitch was at the end of a row another 3 rows back but decided to leave it and at it back in on the next row. The edging should hide it unlike a missed stitch in the middle of a row leaving an obvious hole. Hal took a photo of me wearing it yesterday.
I have since added 10 more rows to it and have decided to add another 4 before I start on the sleeves. I'm pretty happy with it and it actually fits though it's hard to tell from this photo. There will also be an edging, according to the pattern I'm supposed to use the multi-colored yarn but I think I may use the purple. The purple yarn is Caron's Vickie Howell Sheepish in "Plumish" a 70% acrylic, 30% wool worsted weight. The variegated is Red Heart Unforgettable in "Candied", a 100% acrylic worsted weight which often becomes much thinner.

While I love the colors of Unforgettable, the first skein of yarn had many knots which I had to retie and often they paid no heed to the color scheme and would just tie a pink right to a blue, or pink to a yellow. Very annoying. On about the 5th knot I just tossed what was left of that skein and started another. But I shall persevere and hopefully have a useful sweater in another week or two.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hal is Still Working on the Deck (and other things)

He does a few hours almost every day unless it's raining or something else takes precedence. He's gotten the entire deck removed behind the sliding doors now and had to remove the rotten outer rim joist under the door and replace it with pressure treated wood. He's doing that part right now. This photo is a few days old after he'd taken out the joists. The girder will be replaced after he replaces some other pieces here and there including the posts for the stairs. We certainly don't want that falling down at the wrong time.
Luna is standing on the last of the old deck that has yet to be replaced. It doesn't seem to be in as bad a shape as everything else. We think it was added later as the hot tub is set into it. It's a lot of work Hal has ahead of him. I'm keeping him supplied in Gatorade and water. Occasionally I get him things and hold other things in place.
I used to do more of this kind of work when I was younger (heck, we did an entire addition to our house in CA back in the 80s!) but I think I just get in his way now. So I stick to growing the veggies and cooking dinner. How utterly domestic. When did I turn into a housewife? ACK! At least I still mow the lawn (and it took 2 hours yesterday, but I mowed the driveway and a couple of trails, too). I also sprayed some weed killer between the veggie gardens after Hal mixed the ingredients and showed me how. Didn't need it all for the garden area so I used the remainder on those noxious thistle weeds the county doesn't like.

I finally planted a second set of green beans today, this one is an old variety called Slenderette. I also planted the Celebrity tomato I picked up at Wal-Mart last Thursday when I took Mrs J into Alpena for shopping and lunch. I also went to Tractor Supply and got a new battery for the riding mower we bought there several years ago. They happened to be on sale which was nice and I got the one with 280 cold cranking amps though the sales woman encouraged me to get the bigger one "for only $5 more because it would start anything"! But as I only needed it for a summer mower 280 was all I needed and I kept the $5.

While at WM I was also able to pick up the skein of gray yarn I needed to finish the gray and red Lagniappe shawl I started last month. I had to order one since the local Joann's didn't stock it anymore and they don't have free shipping to the store whic WM does, (it turned out to be cheaper, too). It is a pretty good match for being bought a year apart and I was able to add 3 rows to the shawl last night.

I suppose I had better get back to work now. I still have more tomatoes and one more package of green beans to plant.